Thursday, March 21, 2019

Who’s to blame for Preckwinkle fizzling out at end – if that’s what it is!

This election cycle that was supposed to be of a historic nature is turning out to be absurdly anti-climactic. I’m ready for it to end – without really caring who will prevail.
PRECKWINKLE: Is it over for her?

There are those who sense that the momentum has swung to the mayoral campaign of Lori Lightfoot – even though on paper she’s clearly the inexperienced candidate. Or at least no one this time around is willing to reward Toni Preckwinkle for her superior (on paper) qualifications.

IT’S TO THE point where both Chicago major metro newspapers have reported that the Preckwinkle campaign has pulled back the funding they would have spent this week and next to flood the airwaves with a lot of advertising messages whose purpose would be to make us think Lightfoot is totally unfit for the office she seeks.

Is Preckwinkle broke? Does she privately realize she’s lost and doesn’t want to waste the money? After all, it would benefit her if she was the county board president/Cook County chairman who had something of a financial stash that she could then distribute to other political people.

Emphasizing her clout in future years when clout won’t be held against her.

Or it could be that we’re in line for some incredibly negative and nasty surprise gesture – something meant to show that Preckwinkle can play political hardball with the best of them.

SOME SORT OF last-minute surprise a week or so from now meant to create one incredibly nasty negative impression that could sway all the people who actually wait until Election Day April 2 before casting a ballot.

Of course, that idea is undermined by the fact that some people already have cast their ballots – the early voting center downtown opened during the weekend, and the neighborhood centers in each ward have been open since Monday.

Could it be that some have essentially given up – with the focus already shifting to placing blame. Just how could Preckwinkle – the one-time front-runner for the mayoral post – be the one who winds up trailing behind in the public eye.
LIGHTFOOT: Has she won already?

And no. We really can’t blame it all on the public sentiment being against incumbent political people. Because there’s always a little taste of that at work in any election cycle.

ACTUALLY, THERE ARE those who already are saying, “It’s Ed Burke’s fault.” As in voters are punishing Preckwinkle for the fact that she has been supportive all these years of Burke in his role as the most powerful alderman in the City Council.

Of course, Burke himself managed to get enough political support in the initial Feb. 26 election that he won re-election as alderman without having to face a run-off. And despite the fact that the ethnic demographics of his ward have changed so much throughout the years that Burke himself should have been a goner years ago.

Mostly because Burke knew how to turn out the vote in the precincts where his continued supporters live, and how to downplay turnout in the rest of the ward. He got his “people” to show up to vote in strength.

But in what most likely is the evidence that Preckwinkle isn’t a true hard-core old-school politico no matter how much the Lightfoot team tries to portray her as one, Toni likely won’t be able to do the same at the city-wide level.

THERE ARE POCKETS of people who will want to see Preckwinkle become mayor, and who will think it a travesty that it likely won’t happen. But Toni ain’t Eddie. If she really were the old political hack some want to say she is, she'd find ways to survive. While instead, the kind of people who wish they could vote Burke out of office (but can’t, they don’t live in his ward) will gladly use Preckwinkle as a surrogate.
BURKE: Did he cost Toni a mayoral victory?

Which will create the ultimate irony if, come May when newly-elected politicos are sworn in to office that Preckwinkle is vilified while Burke returns to office.

Admittedly, Burke has his legal travails to face. He may get a literal “day in court” at some point in the future.

But it will be annoying if, come this spring, Burke remains a part of the City Hall “scene” to face Lightfoot while Preckwinkle remains relegated to the County Building side of that massive concrete block downtown that has housed our local politicos for more than a century.


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